Anxious for COVID Results

We admit people to our COVID-19 ward nearly every day. We have partitioned half of our hospital to take care of all of our corona virus patients. We place all of our patients who present to the hospital with shortness of breath, fever, hypoxia (low oxygen levels) into this ward while we await their COVID virus tests to come back. When they come back negative, we move the patients to the normal ward. We try to get them out so that they are not there when the next patient arrives who might possibly be infected. So far we have been able to keep all admitted patients in separate rooms so that we do not cross-infect a negative patient from another who might test positive. Nobody has tested positive in the COVID ward, and we have been able to move them all over to the normal beds. Usually these patients “just” have tuberculosis. Once we start having positive patients we will not be able to transfer patients over to the normal ward, and all who end up the COVID ward will be staying there whether they are positive or not. Because once they are admitted into a ward that has COVID positive patients, they are considered exposed and possible transmitters. This desire to move patients to the normal ward makes us eager to get results, and so it means we make multiple trips to the lab with frequent calls to the lab manager asking if results are back. That is why you see Godfrey begging for results in the picture below. We want to get patients out of the COVID ward to the normal hospital where they belong!

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Tracking down labs

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How are you?

How are you, friends, during this topsy turvy time? It is hard to imagine the places we love emptied of worshippers, groceries, patrons, and pedestrians. We pray that you have peace, confidence, and toilet paper.

A few of you have asked how we are. I am sorry that we have been such sporadic communicators on the blog. I confess that I forget to be grateful for all the people around the world who care about us and pray for us. I’m afraid I focus on the people and projects here in Kenya and I neglect to look around and give thanks for those who allow us to be here.

So, into the third paragraph, how are we? We are fine. Kenya is behind the curve, as it were, in the development of the coronavirus. We have a few cases, brought in by travelers, but it is not spread through community transmission yet. We don’t have a documented case in our hospital, but Will and the Kijabe Hospital staff are gearing up for the influx of patients. They are surprised at the relative calm thus far. Will has been watching lots of medical videos about treating COVID-19 and how to best use the available ventilators in the hospital.

Rift Valley Academy decided to end school two and a half weeks before our scheduled term break. There was a Herculean effort to get almost 300 dorm kids scheduled on planes, trains, and buses out of Kenya and to the countries where their families live with only 4 days’ notice. Amazing stories trickled in over the weekend of students’ flights being received only minutes before the border was closed, of students who were going to be quarantined in the airport, but some kindly official released them to their friends’ father, a medical missionary, and of arduous 40-hour bus rides that ended in successful border crossings.

The early closure meant that all junior and senior educational trips (called “Interims”) were cancelled, including mine to Spain. David was scheduled to go to Zanzibar, Tanzania. That was a tough blow to all the upperclassmen. The sudden closure meant the seniors had to say their goodbyes in a day or two, not knowing whether they would return from their country nor when. My heart goes out to these seniors whose lives are so full of change and transition anyway and then this unique kink in plans was added. One crazy story from a student whose parents have served in mostly closed countries is that she said that until now, RVA was the only place she had lived from which she had not been evacuated.

Right now, we teachers are knee-deep in tech training so that we can commence online classes with a hope to see our students face-to-face when God allows.

We had been looking forward to returning to the Christian Medical and Dental Association’s medical mission conference in Greece in April. It was a great place to connect with our fellow Christian Health Service Corps missionaries serving in East Africa, plus there was great food and it was fun to be in Europe. Of course, that is cancelled, much to the chagrin of the family.

For now, though, we are thankful for the beautiful weather, the community of fellow missionaries, the (so-far) stocked grocery stores in Nairobi, the people who have helped all of us make big decisions, the hand of God sustaining us.

Many of you are doing BSF, as am I (my class was already a video chat!), so I will leave you with a quote from this weeks’ lesson: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58

Photos of recent shenanigans: